Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Beaver Falls Seals Trip with a Kiss

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Beaver Falls Seals Trip with a Kiss

Article excerpt

It's been a longstanding tradition for Pennsylvania high school basketball fans to throw Hershey Kisses onto the court when their school earns a berth in the PIAA championship game.

For Beaver Falls players who hadn't known about the ritual, they found out all about it Tuesday night.

Beaver Falls punched its ticket to the PIAA Class AA boys championship game Tuesday by defeating West Middlesex, 59-47, in a semifinal game played in front of a huge crowd at Sharon High School.

Seconds after the final buzzer sounded, Beaver Falls players and fans filled the court just as seemingly hundreds of Hershey Kisses were tossed into the middle of the celebration. It was an affirmation that the Tigers were bound for Hershey, one win away from winning the third PIAA title in school history.

Beaver Falls (27-3) will play District 2 champion Holy Cross (27- 5) in Saturday's championship at the Giant Center. Holy Cross, located in Dunmore near Scranton, is a merger of the former Bishop Hannan and Bishop O'Hara high schools formed in 2007.

"It means you're a game away from accomplishing what you signed up to do," Beaver Falls coach Doug Biega said. "I told them in the locker room, 'We didn't sign up to go to Hershey. We signed up to win.' So we have some work left ahead of us."

Biega's bunch was fully aware of that as the players prepared for Tuesday's game against a West Middlesex team that Beaver Falls had defeated, 50-41, in the season opener.

Beaver Falls appeared to be headed for another win against the Big Red in the early going, with the Tigers defense forcing four early turnovers that led to a 7-0 lead. Sophomore Javon Turner scored twice on transition layups during the run, and the Tigers went on to a take a 12-9 lead after one quarter.

"We knew we had to come out and show out," Turner said. "We had to play hard. That's just what we planned to do from the get-go. As soon as we came out of the locker room, we planned to play hard defense. Offense will come."

The second quarter was a different story for Beaver Falls. …

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